Ever wondered what it would be like to dance alongsideÂ BeyoncÃ©?Â No one knows better than Ashley Everett, whoÂ dropped out of Julliard at 17Â to join Bey's back-up team. Over the last nine years, the stunning redhead has worked her way up to lead dancer and captain. Oh, and she also starsÂ inÂ theÂ VH1 scripted seriesÂ Hit the Floorâabout a fictional NBA dance teamâwhich started itsÂ third season this week. We got to chat with Ashley about her best therapy, those famous curls, and the trick to staying body confident.
So what's it really like to performÂ withÂ BeyoncÃ©?
Obviously itâs amazing, otherwise I wouldnât have stuck around for so long! Sheâs really an incredible person and an insane artist, plus her work ethic is out of this world. I just love learning from her and being inspired by her.
Whatâs the biggest lesson youâve learned?
To always continue to push myself. Sheâs never comfortable or like âIâm on top,â sheâs always trying to outdo herself. Like how she dropped a whole album with no promos and shot secret videos for every one of them, best believe sheâs going to outdo that. I think thatâs incredible and I just feel like if we all do that, weâll all succeed somehow, some way.
OfÂ all of theÂ shows and videos you've done together, do you have aÂ favorite?
I will say that the Single Ladies video was definitely a turning point in dance and the music industry. We got a lot of recognition and praise from it. So thatâs a favorite for me. I also really love the Heaven video I did on her last album, because I got to do more than just dance. I played her best friend and we got to act and do a lot of fun stuff while we shot. We made a lot of great memories.
You playÂ a dancer named Peyton on Hit the Floor.Â Is filming a TV series more or lessÂ stressfulÂ thanÂ your usual routine?
The days are still pretty long. Our call times were around 6 am and we wouldnât wrap until 7 pm. Sometimes weâd learn three or four dances a day, and then shoot more than one dance a day. You definitely had to be on your toes at all times.
What do you love most about dancing?
Dancing is so therapeutic for me. It gives me the opportunity to express myself the same way a musician does through song, or an artist does through painting. Itâs my language. I speak through movement. I lose myself on stage and itâs when I feel the most confident. Kind of like second nature.
Whatâs the one song that when you hear it, you just have to dance?
I don't have a specific song, but pretty much anything up-tempo!
Aside from dancing, how else do you like to work out?
When Iâm really in the flow of rehearsals thatâs usually the only workout I have time for. Other than that, Iâve gotten into CrossFit, which is fun because it changes everyday. And it works with your own bodyweight, which I love. Then I hike and stuff on my own free time. BeyoncÃ© has the best body in the world, so Iâm trying to keep up with her and not look crazy.
You are known for your signature red hair. How do you keep it looking so bright and healthy?
To keep it healthy, I use DevaCurl Decadence conditioner. When I get out of the shower and my hairâs still wet, I use MoroccanOil Intense Curl Cream. Itâs a really thick lotion and it keeps all the moisture that my hair can hold in. I also use Ouidad gel to keep my curls from looking frizzy, and raw coconut oil whenever I feel like itâs getting dry.
What's your secret to body confidence, even when you're rocking theÂ skimpiest costume?
I have my days when I feel horrible, but I still have to put on heels and a leotard and go on stage pretending like Iâm the hottest thing in the world. Sometimes the other dancers and I will do small group workouts like crunches and squats backstage, and thatÂ will make us feel better right before the show. At some point you just have to fake it till you make it.